I spent most meal times during the Eighties in the crossfire of dinner time stand offs between my mother and sister.
The former was really keen we finish everything on our plates, the latter, resistant. But then it was Eighties, who really wanted to eat any of guff served up then? There was no Jamie Oliver, no Piri-Piri hummus, no Waitrose. Everything, to a degree, tasted like brown.
But it seems food from the Eighties has dramatically improved over the past twenty odd years, because last week I went to Luke Thomas' Retro Feasts pop-up restaurant with my sister and she ate everything. And so did I - it was bloody scrumptious, not a word you'd twin with the actual Eighties. The actual Eighties was...filling.
Based in Old Burlington Street - in what used to be Kitchen Joel Antunes - the menu at Retro Feasts is inspired by the decade but thankfully not doggedly going after authenticity. There's no spam and, thankfully, nothing that can grow its own skin (custard, semolina, etc).
Instead, there's potato dumplings smothered in a dangerously yummy cheese and tomato sauce (trust me, it's delicious), gloriously fresh and beautifully presented Coronation chicken salad and crab on toast. There's tomato soup served with cheese toasties, plates of peas and ham and Eton Mess to finish it all off. The cocktails are stupidly strong but very more-ish and the result of the whole thing is that you end up having a much, much better time than anyone did way back when.
And here's why: nothing about this is, in truth, much like the actual Eighties. An idea here and there, maybe, but mostly this is just a fun diner where you can share a few dishes with friends (the menu works best if you load your table up, tapas-style) and perhaps have a go on the table football.
If anything it feels a bit like Al's in Happy Days, which is never is bad thing and in terms of price it's beyond reasonable in comparison to its fellow Mayfair haunts. A perfect place to head this weekend for somewhere you can have dinner and happily stay all night.
For more information go to www.retrofeasts.com.
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